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Follow pioneers’ wagon tracks

ADVENTUROUS DRIVERS make their way through High Rock Canyon during last year's Lassen Applegate Emigrant Trail Ride. This year's event will begin on July 15. Courtesy photo
ADVENTUROUS DRIVERS make their way through High Rock Canyon during last year's Lassen Applegate Emigrant Trail Ride. This year's event will begin on July 15. Courtesy photo

ADVENTUROUS DRIVERS make their way through High Rock Canyon during last year's Lassen Applegate Emigrant Trail Ride. This year's event will begin on July 15. Courtesy photo

As early as the 1840s, farmers and gold seekers loaded their possessions, a few women, children, dogs and cats in covered wagons and began what would become an arduous journey toward the Pacific Ocean.

The trickle of emigrants beginning in 1841 would turn into hordes of dreamers after the discovery of gold in California in 1848. The overland emigrant trek would take five to six months crossing mountains, deserts, rivers and some of the most hostile country in the world.

Now, four-wheel drive owners, including sport utility vehicles, can relive the gold rush era traveling a 200-mile stretch of the 1849 wagon route used by thousands of emigrants from Imlay, Nev., to Surprise Valley, marveling at such sights as the beautiful Black Rock Desert, the majestic High Rock Canyon, Double Hot Springs and Soldiers Meadow.

All of these sights as well as stories from early emigrant diaries will spring to life for participants on the 17th annual Lassen-Applegate Trail Ride Friday, July 15, through Monday, July 18. This exciting journey begins near Imlay and follows the same wagon tracks used by Peter Lassen in 1849.

“For me, this trail is special and as a historian, I get to relive the past by thinking of John C. Fremont, Kit Carson, Thomas ‘Brokenhand’ Fitzpatrick and many other brave men and women as they made this dangerous trip from small towns throughout the Midwest,” said Warner Anderson, trail boss from the High Rock Trekkers four-wheel drive club.

Anderson said the trip is open to all four-wheel drive enthusiasts and their families. It is not a difficult route, but there are a few places where four-wheel drive will be required or where trail committee instructions must be followed.

“The emigrants wrote in their diaries such good descriptions of their trip that we can identify the majority of key points of interest in the history of this route,” Anderson said.

Camping the first night will be at Double Hot Springs, former camping area for all of the pioneer wagon trains and the second night participants will spend the evening at Stevens Camp, which provides toilets, spring water, and possible hot showers. Participants will need to bring their own tents and sleeping bags.

Cost for the trip is $275 per adult, $150 for children 7-14, and children younger than 7 are welcome free of charge. The cost includes all meals from breakfast on Saturday through breakfast on Monday. In addition to tents and sleeping bags, participants are encouraged to bring a CB radio, camera, folding chairs, snacks, refreshments and drinking water.

This trip is fully insured and operates under a permit from the Bureau of Land Management. Proceeds from the event help support the California Association of Four-Wheel Drive Clubs’ Conservation and Education Foundation.

The trip is limited to the first 25 vehicles on a first-registered, first-served basis. To register or for more information contact Warner Anderson at (775) 629-9232 or   wana7448@sbcglobal.net or Ron Vance at (775) 246-4099 or  vance63@charter.net.  Registration is also available online at highrocktrekkers.com.

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Posted by on Jun 8 2011.
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